Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has provided a telling update on how and when Manchester United can smash their transfer record for Benfica ace, Joao Neves.
Neves is a regular starter at Portuguese giant Benfica despite only turning 19 in September. The central midfielder operates primarily in a deeper role, though is not limited to playing defensively.
Neves has already racked up three caps for the Portuguese national side despite his tender age. That's despite Portugal also having Fulham destroyer Joao Palhinha to choose from.
TEAMtalk exclusively revealed back in October that Man Utd were scouting Neves. The club's watching brief was later confirmed by Fabrizio Romano.
Portuguese outlet Record subsequently stated Erik ten Hag is 'fully convinced' by the idea of adding Neves to his ranks.
His potential arrival could be the beginning of the end for the ageing Casemiro who Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly open to letting go.
Ratcliffe is primed to purchase a 25 percent stake in United and per The Sun, wants to oversee a squad 'reset'.
Now, a fresh update from Romano has shed new light on Man Utd's chances of landing Neves.
Man Utd pointed towards record-breaking release clause
Taking to X, the trusted reporter stated Benfica have "no intention" of fielding any enquiries for their highly regarded midfielder in January. However, that's by no means where the story ends.
Indeed, Romano reaffirmed that Neves' contract at Benfica contains the same €120m release clause Enzo Fernandez's did. At current exchange rate, €120m equates to £105m.
Chelsea took the power away from Benfica when triggering the clause last winter. When the January window closed its doors, Fernandez was a Chelsea player.
In theory, Man Utd could follow suit and simply activate Neves' release clause. Doing so would then require an agreement on personal terms and a medical before Neves could line up at Old Trafford.
Of course, the obvious issue there is how Man Utd would finance a £105m signing. Such a sum would shatter the club's transfer record that is still held by Paul Pogba (£89m).
Lucrative sales to Saudi Arabia for the likes of Raphael Varane and Casemiro could free up vital funds. TEAMtalk has been told Varane's camp have already received approaches from Saudi sides and his demotion down the centre-back pecking order could spark an exit.
Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial are also believed to be on the chopping block for the winter window.
However, it does seem unlikely Man Utd would pay £105m for a player with less than 50 senior matches to his name - even if Ten Hag is 'fully convinced' by the midfielder as Record claimed.
As such, and with Romano declaring Benfica aren't open for business in January, a move may have to wait until the summer.
At that stage, Man Utd may attempt to negotiate a lower fee for Neves rather than be forced into activating the £105m clause.